Casino winger Joe Murphy on the run against SCU in FNC rugby.
Casino winger Joe Murphy on the run against SCU in FNC rugby. Ursula Bentley@Captured Aus

Fijian flavour added to the mix at Bulls

IT WILL be an international flavour at the Casino Bulls for the rest of the season with players from Fiji and Ireland arriving in Far North Coast rugby union.

They need to claim a big scalp in the coming weeks and it could happen when they host Lennox Head at Albert Park, Casino tomorrow.

Fijian flanker Josef Lalabalavu has returned to the club with fullback Wilson Lovokuro and No 8 Ratu Vio Batibasaga.

The Bulls have also had Irish winger Joe Murphy who is teaching at Casino High School.

"I've got some contacts in Fiji and we'd been trying to get them over for a while,” Casino coach Doug Murray said.

"Josef had already played here before but we were having a bit of trouble with the visas.

"Ratu is a strong ball runner but he also gets in there and does the hard stuff.

"He has a bit of pace so he's quite damaging if he breaks the line and he's a little bit older too which helps in a younger team.

Batibasaga and Lalabalavu were among the try-scorers when Casino defeated Bangalow 24-17 in a catch-up game last Friday night.

The Bulls should have enough fire-power to trouble the better teams in the competition over the next month.

"We're almost in the situation now where we can't afford to drop any games,” Murray said.

"The boys have shown plenty of character this season and we defended well against Bangalow.

"We've always had a good forward pack just now we have a bit of extra pace and attacking flair.”

Lennox Head welcomes back five players and should be a lot better in the forwards with flanker Jack Tyndall and second-rower Harry Bungate.

Kick-off is 3.15pm.

In other games Ballina hosts Wollongbar-Alstonville in the top-of-the-table clash at Quays Reserve, Ballina.

The Seahorses have new hooker Hayden Warneke from America while Wollongbar is aiming for its 10th straight win of the season.

Elsewhere, Lismore takes on Byron Bay at Lismore Rugby Park.

Bangalow is at home against Southern Cross University at Schultz Oval, Bangalow and Grafton plays Casuarina at Grafton Rugby Park.

Casino: 1. Craig Connolly, 2. Ben Collison, 3. Scott Kenny, 4. Callum McLennan, 5. Marcus Cusack, 6. Josef Lalabalavu, 7. Elliott Birmingham, , 8. Ratu Vio Batibasaga, 9. Stephen Murchie (c), 10. Nick Armstrong, 11. Nick Benn, 12. Glen Pollard, 13. Jake Roberts, 14. Joseph Murphy, 15. Wilson Lovokuro

Coach: Doug Murray


Lennox Head: 1. Angus Langfield, 2. John Young, 3. Jacob Carter, 4. Callum Jones, 5. Harrison Bungate, 6. Jack Tyndall, 7. Sam Dwyer, 8. Hayden Blair (c), 9. Abe Goldsmith, 10. Jack Norman, 11. Matthew Bermingham, 12. Martin McNamara,, 13. Callum S Jones, 14. Rhys Tatum, 15. Sam Fitzgerald

Coach: Rob Fish

Referee: Dylan Harris

Bangalow: 1. Sean Petrou, 2. Nick Jones, 3. Neil Moran, 4. Jock Craigie (c), 5. Rob Wrightman, 6. John Turagabeci, 7. Sam Campbell, 8. Dave Johnson, 9. Rowan Ozols, 10. Kye Spence, 11. Jack Bensley, 12. Dan Hill, 13. Jed Erickson, 14. Benson Lockyer, 15. Adam Brien

Coach: Tim Cohen


Southern Cross University: 1. Mitchell Bird, 2. Isaac Penfold, 3. Pat Kelly, 4. Brad Sneath, 5. Dean Buchanan, 6. Riley Spencer, 7. Kirk Taylor-Brown, 8. Ben Prozinski, 9. Matt Anderson (c), 10. Will Hawkins, 11. Rhys Harrison, 12. Pat Dawson, 13. Matt McMullen, 14. Josh Condon, 15. Michael McMullen

Coach: Harry Witt

Referee: Peter Campbell

Lismore: 1. Greg Martin, 2. Cameron Bryant, 3. Marcus Ellison, 4. Ben Carroll, 5. Jathan Von Bratt, 6. Tyler Coveney, 7. Brenden Williams (c), 8. James Grubb, 9. Jack Everingham, 10. William Fairweather, 11. Sam Nilon, 12. Jake Lennon, 13. TBA, 14. Marcus Hannaway, 15. Andrew Sky

Coach: Ray Taylor


Byron Bay: 1. Jordan Elliott, 2. Dan Morgan, 3. Brad Hill, 4. Janes Atkins, 5. Will Aisake, 6. Ed Randall, 7. Ben Wood, 8. Courtney Raymond, 9. Tom Brooks, 10. Pete Gillespie, 11. Kristian Avotins, 12. Owain Roberts, 13. Romey Vassell, 14. Erik Rademacher, 15. Jascha Saeck (c)

Coach: Jeff Watts

Referee: Will Palmer

Ballina: 1. Isaac Pratten, 2. Hayden Warneke, 3. Callum Turner, 4. Jack Pippo, 5. Marcus Lees, 6. Jakob O'Connor, 7. Luke Kliese, 8. Stan Lolohea, 9. Nick Watson, 10. Beau Clarke, 11. Rhyen Kennedy, 12. Grant Knight, 13. Tupou Lolohea, 14. Leigh Foster, 15. Luke Simpson

Coach: Chris Hickey


Wollongbar Alstonville: 1. Matthew Wright, 2. Bill Johnston, 3. Benji Tiatia, 4. Matt Scott, 5. Josh Galbraith, 6. Austin Markwort, 7. Justyn Keir, 8. Nick Pennisi, 9. Louis Hollman, 10. Ben Damen (c), 11. Ryan Graham, 12. Daniel Damen, 13. Alex Gibbon, 14. James Vidler, 15. Josh Damen

Coach: Paul Jeffery

Referee: Kevin Twomey

Grafton: 1. Jordan Walker, 2. Zac Mason-Gale, 3. Dan Blackman, 4. Jack Anderson, 5. Declan Collie, 6. Billy Whalan, 7. Codi Reti, 8. Ed McGrath, 9. Dom Bullock, 10. Pala Pearce, 11. Trevor Walters, 12. Dwayne Duke, 13. Jake Harris, 14. Ryan Spies, 15. Kyle Hancock (c)

Coach: Craig Howe


Casuarina Beach: 1. Bruce Somerville, 2. Trent Ryan, 3. Abraham Buatava, 4. Chris Dowling, 5. Elisio Tagidrau, 6. Henry Bradford, 7. Ross Colvin, 8. Hiroshi Takeyama, 9. Webb Lillis, 10. Vitori Buatava, 11. Michael Coates, 12. Rian Olivier, 13 Kai George, 14. Luke Gyory, 15. Richard White

Coach: Mick Hall

Referee: Matthew Clayton